Freshmen Michael Donofrio, left, and Emily Stephens, center, along with junior Ellen Tolson make a balsa wood airplane during practice for the Science Olympiad Invitational at Northview High School.
Last week, members of Northview High School's Science Olympiad team were busy practicing with Lego models, writing reports, and conducting chemistry experiments in preparation for the first Science Olympiad Invitational. About 50 students are involved and have spent many Fridays after school since October, preparing for the invitational.
The competition will be at the school on Saturday and feature students from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. They will compete in various events, from testing to performing experiments and building models that will be tested.
Student team leader Veronica Czernik said she hopes the first year of the event at the school will let competing teams learn more about them.
“It will get our name out there,” she said. Miss Czernik plans to study biomedical sciences in college and originally joined the team three years ago to “get closer to science.” The team has been up and running at the school since 2007, adviser and chemistry teacher Andy Roth said.
Mr. Roth said he originally got involved starting up a team because a student approached him about bringing the event to the area. Since then, each team has been fairly successful at winning competitions. Last year, they placed seventh in the state.
But while the team isn't new by any means, he said this year the game is different because it is the “biggest team ever,” and he said the students are the most dedicated he has seen. Mr. Roth predicts that having the event hosted by the school will also help the students, who will compete at other tournaments in January, February, and March.
“The only way for us to get better is to practice. It's up to the teams to host the tournaments,” he said.
Thomas Needham, another student leader and a senior, also thought there might be a few benefits to having it in Sylvania.
“There might be a little bit of home field advantage,” he said, adding that it is another benefit that the team won't have to wake up at 3 a.m. like they might if they were competing out of state.
Mr. Needham said stronger goal setting has contributed to the team's confidence about doing well this season.
Dedication to learning new things has also been made easier to understand, with the help of two assistants and parent support.
Beata Lecka-Czernik, who is Miss Czernik's mother, volunteers her time to help students learn about genetics. Ms. Czernik is professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery with a joint appointment in the department of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Toledo.
“My daughter asked me to do this. I know this subject,” she said, adding that she was “very happy to help” the students.